geometric

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Craft

A Centuries-Old Decorative Tradition Inspires Michelle Robinson’s Vibrant Weavings

December 27, 2022

Kate Mothes

A photograph of a brightly colored woven wall hanging laid out on a surface.

All images © Michelle Robinson, shared with permission

“Colour is my first passion,” says Sydney-based artist Michelle Robinson, who weaves textured fibers in vibrant hues into lively wall-hangings and accessories. The artist draws on more than twenty years of experience in the soft furnishings and upholstery industry, which instilled a deep appreciation for textiles. She began working with the medium as a way to further explore her love for decor and shares that the process “allows me to continuously play with all the colour combinations that wizz through my brain—and hopefully pass on some of the energy to others that colour can evoke.”

After weaving for four years, Robinson signed up for a masterclass in passementerie, the 16th and 17th century European decorative artderived from passement, an archaic French word for “lace”—that centers on ornate trimmings like edging and tassels for clothing and furniture. Led by U.K.-based artist Elizabeth Ashdown, the class was an opportunity to learn traditional methods from a practitioner who is committed to keeping the craft alive. Robinson shares that she “was immediately besotted with the possibilities for this historic and beautiful technique and was reminded of all the beautiful braids I worked with in my decorating days.” Her pieces reference the ornamental plaits and trims of furniture and garments.

Robinson creates wall hangings and accessories like bookmarks on frame looms, employing traditional techniques to produce geometric works that have a contemporary feel. Recently, she has been exploring how to scale up the medium, examining how the different threads behave within the structure and retain a sense of nostalgia and playfulness. She explains:

I find myself constantly experimenting and learning new techniques, using primarily all-natural fibres. I also love adding repurposed items like knitting needles and re-spun fibres and finishing weavings with hand sewn details. It’s the details that draw you into an artwork that appeal to me.

Robinson often makes pieces available for sale on Etsy, and you can find more of her work on Instagram.

 

A photograph of a brightly colored woven wall hanging.

A photograph of brightly colored woven wall hangings laid out on a surface.

A photograph of a brightly colored woven wall hanging laid out on a surface.

A photograph of brightly colored woven wall hangings laid out on a surface.

A photograph of brightly colored woven wall hangings laid out on a surface next to balls of fiber.  A photograph of a detail of a brightly colored woven wall hanging laid out on a surface.

A photograph of a corner of a brightly colored woven wall hanging laid out on a surface.

 

 

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Art

Precise Geometry and Color Gradients Undulate in Anna Kruhelska’s Three-Dimensional Paper Sculptures

December 13, 2022

Kate Mothes

An overview of a geometric, undulating paper sculpture.

All images © Anna Kruhelska, shared with permission

In the meticulous folds of Anna Kruhelska’s paper sculptures, contrasts of light, shadow, and hue give the impression of undulating motion. An abiding interest in form, symmetry, and space developed from the Lodz-based artist’s work as an architect, combining precise engineering and design skills with and interest in geometry and origami. Reminiscent of the spatial explorations of Günther Oecker, humble materials form delicate patterns to create perception-bending, three-dimensional wall pieces.

Kruhelska’s earliest sculptures were constructed from white paper, which demonstrated how exact cuts and creases highlight the interplay between light and shade.  She then began to incorporate hued layers into the matrix-like surfaces. “I started mixing and combining contrasting colors to create an illusion of movement and to encourage viewers to view the work from different angles,” she tells Colossal. The works transform when they are viewed from various perspectives, revealing new colors and gradients.

You can see Kruhelska’s work in the Superspectra group exhibition at Laura Rathe Fine Art in Houston, which runs December 15, 2022, to January 12, 2023. You can find more of her work on her website and Instagram.

 

An overview of a geometric, undulating paper sculpture.

A view of a wall-mounted paper sculpture with colors that make it appear prismatic.

An overview of a geometric, undulating paper sculpture.

Two overviews of a geometric, undulating paper sculptures.

A view from the side of a wall-mounted paper sculpture with colors that make it appear prismatic.

Two overviews of geometric, undulating paper sculptures.

An overview of a geometric, undulating paper sculpture.

 

 



Art

In Richly Patterned Portraits, Ruby Sky Stiler Dismantles Art History’s Most Persistent Archetypes

November 28, 2022

Kate Mothes

A geometrically patterned, abstract portrait of two figures and a paint palette.

“Artist with Muse” (2022), acrylic, acrylic resin, paper, glue, and graphite on panel, 60 x 50 inches. All images © Ruby Stiler, shared with permission courtesy of Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York

Throughout the history of Western art, certain tropes occur again and again in painting and sculpture. The motif of mother and child has been reflected throughout the centuries in the likeness of the Holy Virgin and infant Christ or in domestic family portraiture, like in the works of Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, who specialized in the theme. The archetype of the female muse dates back to ancient Greek mythology and religion, when goddesses like Calliope or Melpomene were considered the source of creativity and knowledge. Brooklyn-based artist Ruby Sky Stiler challenges these preconceptions and archetypes in her ongoing series of Relief Paintings.

Stiler’s works play with gender conventions by turning the male subject into a muse for the female artist or representing parenthood through an image of a father with his children. In “Old Woman (Blue),” she taps into society’s lingering taboo of aging, especially for women. “I’ve recently been exploring the trope of the ‘muse’ and placing the male figure as object. And also in the role of parent, which is strikingly uncommon (in contrast to the abundant depictions of mother and child),” she tells Colossal. “I’ve also re-positioned the female figure in the empowered role as The Artist.”

In bold, geometric patterns, Stiler’s subjects are human-scaled and gaze directly at the viewer. Black-and-white, tile-like patterns provide the background for abstracted figures that nod to Cubism—a movement practically synonymous with masculine figures like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Stiler dismantles the “male gaze,” or the lens through which women are depicted as objects of desire for men in visual culture. She explores the notion of the gaze further in the way that the paintings are experienced by the viewer; from far away the outlines of the figures are easy to see, but the closer one gets, the more the fractal-like patterns distort the image.

A monograph of Stiler’s work is scheduled for publication by The Tang Teaching Museum in the spring, and a solo exhibition of her work will open in March 2023 at Nina Johnson Gallery in Miami. She is represented by Nicelle Beauchene, and you can find more of her work on her website and Instagram.

 

A geometrically patterned portrait of a figure holding a cat.

“Cat Sitter” (2022), acrylic paint, acrylic resin, paper, glue, and graphite on panel, 32 x 25 inches

Detail of “Cat Sitter”

A geometrically patterned, abstract portrait of a father holding his two children.

“Father and Children” (2022), acrylic paint, acrylic resin, paper, glue, and graphite on panel, 60 x 50 inches

A detail of a painting showing a hand cradling two small feet.

Detail of “Father and Children”

A geometrically patterned, abstract portrait of three figures in a family.

“Generational Portrait” (2022), acrylic paint, acrylic resin, paper, and glue, 60 x 50 inches

“Old Woman (Blue)” (2022), acrylic paint, acrylic resin, paper, and glue, 18 x 15.5 inches

A geometrically patterned, abstract portrait of a figure seated next to a vase.

“Seated Woman (Facing Left)” (2018), mixed media, 50 x 60 inches

A geometrically patterned, abstract portrait of a parent figure sitting beside a child.

“No Title (Father and Boy” (2020), acrylic paint, acrylic resin, graphite, and paper, 44 x 50 inches

A geometrically patterned, abstract portrait of two women in gold, one holding a flower.

“Women in Gold” (2022), acrylic paint, acrylic resin, paper, glue, and graphite on panel, 32 x 25 inches

 

 



Art Illustration

Watch Artist Zak Korvin Draw a Precise Geometric Emblem in a Mesmerizing Timelapse

November 14, 2022

Kate Mothes

Artist Zak Korvin offers a look into the process of making a geometric crest of three birds in a mesmerizing timelapse. Drawing inspiration from Japanese mon, an emblem used to designate an individual or family, Korvin incorporates three birds in a circular motif that are drawn into the framework of a precise network of lines that he first traces in graphite using a compass. Korvin regularly shares videos on YouTube, and he also offers tutorials on Patreon. You can find more work on his website.

 

An animated image of the artist's hand drawing a geometric drawing of three birds.

All images © Zac Korvin

An image of a drawing of geometric birds in progress.

An animated image of a hand holding a pencil and drawing in a geometric shape.

A compass drawing geometric shapes.

An image of drawing of geometric birds in progress.

 

 



Art

Parallel Fields of Color Align in Daniel Mullen’s Precise Mathematical Paintings

December 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Future Monuments 10.” All images © Daniel Mullen, shared with permission

What are the visual impacts of converging planes of color? This question is central to Scottish artist Daniel Mullen’s most recent series of paintings, which displays stacks of thin, rectangular sheets in exacting, abstract structures. “I am looking more at Rothko’s body of work and studying the vibrations of color and the almost alchemic effect that his work has on the sense,” the Rotterdam-based artist tells Colossal.

Comprised of meticulous angles and lines on linen, the acrylic paintings are studies of precision, geometry, and perception, allowing each element to collide in a mathematically aligned composition. Mullen’s process involves measuring and taping the individual planes before laying the slight, translucent marks. “In this way, the work is built up slowly over time, incorporating irregularities, brush strokes, and bleeding paint into a work that breathes, floats, and expands through the energy of color,” he says, explaining further:

The forms might seem to reference glass panels or other architectural configurations but that is only the scaffolding for the viewer to locate themselves within. Beyond that initial shape is an attempt to move towards a perception of ekstasis; or the vibrant energy of the universe, imaginary and unmapped. One that questions the symbols of power and place in today’s fast-paced, heavily digitized environments.

The pieces shown here follow Mullen’s collaborative synesthesia series that translates non-visual senses to the canvas—he and artist Lucy Cordes Engelman will be working more on this concept during a residency in upstate New York early next year. You can follow updates to that body of work and explore more of his recent paintings on Instagram.

 

“Future Monuments 16”

“Synesthesia 85”

“Future Monuments 21”

“Synesthesia 64”

“Future Monuments 37”

“Future Monuments 43”

 

 



Art

A Vibrant, Geometric Rug Cascades Down a Staircase in a New Mural by Jessie and Katey

August 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jessie and Katey, shared with permission. By Shauna Caldwell

To create the brightly colored textile that cloaks a three-level staircase on the Appalachian State University campus, artists Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn (previously) imagined the concrete steps as a massive loom. They drew grids on the outdoor structure to map out where each individual strip would start, end, and intersect with the larger geometric forms. “There was a lot of math involved, getting the angles and perspective right was a challenge but eventually everything locked into place,” the Baltimore-based duo, who are known as Jessie and Katey, shares with Colossal.

Evoking the quilts and other textiles that are traditional to Appalachia, the large-scale artwork is composed of vivid gradients layered into a complex web of stripes and woven patches. Neutral-toned tassels line the angled edge at the bottom of the staircase, giving the flat mural the appearance of a rug.

This public artwork is just one Jessie and Katey have undertaken in recent months. Many of their projects that were postponed due to COVID-19 are reconvening, bringing the pair to Las Vegas, Washington D.C., and a few spots in North Carolina. Although the actual painting process is solitary, Jessie and Katey say they’ve enjoyed seeing how people are experiencing outdoor art since the onset of the pandemic. “It’s really rewarding watching the work get embraced by the public. People get really creative with it, and murals end up becoming a part of the community,” they say.

To see where the duo is headed next, follow them on Instagram, and check out the prints available in their shop.